Flexibility is an important aspect of posture. Strength is also important, but the two are interrelated where posture is concerned. Below are 8 flexibility exercises that will improve posture in a number of ways. Some will improve lower and upper back strength and keep those areas loose and comfortable, which is key to good posture. Others will address flexibility and comfort in the areas that contribute to poor posture if tense or injured. With all of these stretches, it's important to move slowly and gently and not push yourself past the feeling of a gentle stretch. Do 10 repetitions on each side or 15 total reps.
1. Seated Twists
Sit in a hard chair with a hard back and no arms. Face the back of the chair and straddle the seat. Take your left arm and cross it over your chest, grasping the right side of the chair's back, half way down to the seat. Twist at the waist, attempting to keep your legs facing forward and your back and neck straight. Twist very slowly in a steady movement, just as much as is completely comfortable, until you feel a slight and pleasurable stretch. Repeat on the other side.
2. Legs up the Wall
Find a bare wall. Lie on your side with your buttocks up against the wall and your legs in front of you. Lift your legs and roll onto your back. Your legs should be against the wall with the bottom of your feet parallel to the ceiling. Keep your knees somewhat soft.
3. Hip Openers
You can vary the legs up the wall by putting your feet face to face with your knees out. This will help open the hips and groin area. You can also simply lie on your back and bend your knees so that both feet are flat on the floor. Then cross one leg over the other, placing one ankle just above the knee.
4. Back Rolls
Lie on your back and bring your knees to your chest. Rock from side to side, massaging the lower back on the floor. Then roll all the way so that your legs are perpendicular to the trunk of your body and your back is still on the floor. Just go as far as you can.
5. Basic Neck Stretches
These are good to do in a mirror for proper alignment. Stand or sit with your head facing straight ahead. Keep your shoulders down and slowly try to press your right ear to your right shoulder. Repeat 10 times each side. Another stretch involves the same movement plus then tilting the head up to the left. This will stretch the scaline muscles.
6. Chest Opener
Sit or stand with your back, neck and head straight and your arms straight at your side. Try to squeeze the shoulder blades together while slowly tilting back the head for a greater stretch.
7. Arm Raises
Raise your arms slowly above your head, keeping them straight and aligned to your ears. Keep them up for 3 to 5 seconds. Then slowly bring them down to shoulder level, hold for 3 to 5 seconds, and bring them down to your sides. You can also bend the arms back at the elbows to try to touch the shoulder blades from the straight up position.
8. Shoulder Shrugs and Rolls
Keep your neck and head straight and raise the shoulders slowly up to the ears. Another stretch involves circulating the shoulders backwards and forwards.